Imagine there’s a person standing in the road, and there’s a truck coming, and it’s going to hit them. We can shout a warning at them to get out of the way, or we can say nothing. If we shout the warning, that’s love. […] If we don’t shout the warning, that’s hate.
Hello Readers, hope all’s well. Time for another Friday End Times post.
Today’s post is on the topic of evangelizing and preaching. We know that these are the End Times, and that Jesus Christ is coming back soon. He’s closer than ever before. We also know that when He returns, those who love Him will be Saved while those who don’t love Him will suffer eternal torment.
Since we know this is coming, we have a Christian duty to warn everyone we can that Jesus is almost here. We need to warn people that they must REPENT!
That should be a main focus of ours in these final days. And the LORD Himself has a few things to say on this topic of warning people of the coming Judgment. So in today’s post, we’re going to take a look at a few things the LORD says about preaching. Then we’ll think about our Christian duty to warn everyone of the coming Judgment.
So let’s get right into it.
Whether they Listen or Not, Speak
The Book of Ezekiel starts out with the Prophet Ezekiel receiving instructions from the LORD Himself. God Himself tells Ezekiel to go to Israel and proclaim the LORD’s message He had for them. The LORD was going to warn Israel, including the Righteous, of their sins. He wanted for them to repent and turn back to Him.
In chapter 3, God tells Ezekiel that he has a duty to preach this message to the Israelites. But Ezekiel won’t be held responsible if they choose not to listen to the message. The LORD gives important instructions for preaching here that we need to know. Let’s take a look at what God says in Ezekiel 3.
First, God tells Ezekiel in verses 7-9 that the house of Israel will refuse to listen to him, because they refuse to listen to the LORD. Then he tells Ezekiel not to be afraid of these people or shrink away from them.
(7) But the house of Israel—they will refuse to listen to you because they refuse to listen to me. The whole house of Israel is hardheaded and hard-hearted too. (8) I’ve now hardened your face so that you can meet them head-on. (9) I’ve made your forehead like a diamond, harder than stone. Don’t be afraid of them or shrink away from them, because they are a household of rebels.Ezekiel 3:7-9 (CEB)
So here we have a message from the LORD not to be afraid of or shrink away from the people we preach to. We also see His acknowledgment that many of the people won’t listen.
Moving on, in verse 11 God tells Ezekiel to preach the message whether the people listen or not.
(11) Then go to the exiles, to your people’s children. Whether they listen or not, speak to them and say: The LORD God proclaims!Ezekiel 3:11 (CEB)
That’s crystal clear. We need to be noting all these things the LORD says about preaching to the people.
Moving on, we get to the most important part of Ezekiel 3. The LORD tells Ezekiel that he has to go preach, and He also acknowledges that many people won’t listen. But that doesn’t matter—Ezekiel (and by extension, us) has a duty to warn the people. If the people don’t listen to him, then it’s their fault. God will not hold Ezekiel (us) responsible for their death (damnation) in that case. But if Ezekiel (us) doesn’t warn the people, and they die in sin, God will hold Ezekiel (us) responsible for their deaths. Note that in verse 20-21 God tells Ezekiel (us) that he must also warn the Righteous ones who are going astray into sin. The LORD’s merciful warning before judgment was meant for everyone.
All this is in Ezekiel 3:17-21.
(17) Human one, I’ve made you a lookout for the house of Israel. When you hear a word from me, deliver my warning. (18) If I declare that the wicked will die but you don’t warn them, if you say nothing to warn them from their wicked ways so that they might live, they will die because of their guilt, but I will hold you accountable for their deaths. (19) If you do warn the wicked and they don’t turn from their wickedness or their wicked ways, they will die because of their guilt, but you will save your life.Ezekiel 3:17-21 (CEB)
(20) Or suppose righteous people turn away from doing the right thing. If they act dishonestly, and I make them stumble because of it, they will die because you didn’t warn them of their sin. Their righteous deeds won’t be remembered, and I will hold you accountable for their deaths. (21) But if you do warn the righteous not to sin, and they don’t sin, they will be declared righteous. Their lives will be preserved because they heeded the warning, and you will save your life.
And so here we have the most important message from Ezekiel 3. Listen, everybody:
The most important thing is that Ezekiel (us) goes to Israel and warns the people. How the people choose to respond to the message is on them. But we (Ezekiel) have a duty to preach the warning.
We have a duty to preach the Gospel, the good news of Jesus Christ. This is called The Great Commission, of course. I’m sure you know it. But I’m going to write about it below. And we have a duty to preach this Gospel because it’s the one and only way to salvation, to survive the End Times and avoid Spiritual death. A Spiritual death is the true death. Spiritual death is losing our salvation, missing out on the reward of everlasting life that we could have had as faithful Christians.
Why do I bring up Ezekiel 3? This chapter has very important points we need to remember when we preach warnings to the people. These points come straight from the LORD Himself, so we must pay extra close attention to them. I’ll list them out for you.
- It’s our duty to warn the people (including the Righteous) of their sins and the consequences
- If the people choose to reject or ignore the message, that’s not our fault in God’s eyes
- If we don’t warn the people and they die to sin, the LORD will hold us responsible for their deaths
- Do not fear the people when preaching or shrink away from them (Ezekiel 3:9)
Now that we have some guidelines about preaching straight from the LORD Himself, let’s consider our preaching duties as Christians.
The Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20)
“The Great Commission” refers to Jesus’ instructions for us at the very end of the Gospel of Matthew. These are the final verses of this Gospel. In Matthew 28:18-20, Jesus Himself told us to go and make disciples of all the nations. All the peoples of earth. Baptize them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach them to follow what Jesus taught us. Let’s look at Matthew 28:18-20.
(18) Jesus came near and spoke to them, “I’ve received all authority in heaven and on earth. (19) Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, (20) teaching them to obey everything that I’ve commanded you. Look, I myself will be with you every day until the end of this present age.”Matthew 28:16-20 (CEB)
This is one of our most important duties as Christians: The duty to evangelize. That means to preach the Gospels and the New Testament. It’s sad that a recent survey (within the last few years) of Christians in the U.S. found that about half of Christians don’t know what The Great Commission is! One of our most important Christian responsibilities! That’s a failure of church teaching and leadership right there.
Our duty that comes from The Great Commission is more important than ever during these End Times. Jesus is coming back, and He’s coming back soon.
This world doesn’t have a lot of time left. And this means that people don’t have a lot of time to change their hearts and lives, to change their ways. The people are running out of time to turn to Jesus, the one person who can save them from what’s soon to come.
As we work on battling our own sins, we also have a duty to warn others of the coming return of Jesus Christ. Because once He comes back, everyone will be judged. Those who don’t confess Jesus will lose their chance for eternal life, and will be thrown to the fire. This is the second death. Those who love Jesus will find their true lives with Him. Why would we want even one person to suffer the second death?? We have a duty to warn the people!!
Whoever wants to truly turn to Jesus will need to give up their sins. Depending on what sins we’re talking about here, this could be a lengthy process or an immediate thing. Some sins are easy to drop, no problem at all. But getting rid of some sins—especially mental sins, sinful thoughts—is a battle that takes time, determination, and perseverance (Fortitude).
We have to fight this battle against sin, no matter how hard it is. Because Jesus Himself said that if we love Him, we’ll keep His commandments (John 14:15). God loves us, but He hates our sin. We have to call on the LORD for help and do everything humanly possible to overcome our sins. And we must lovingly warn others to do the same.
(15) If you love me, you will keep my commandments.John 14:15 (CEB)
We also need to remember that the people we must warn include the Righteous. The Christian walk isn’t easy, and it’s hard to keep it up for our whole life. The world and its sinful ways are constantly there, tempting us. The devil knows exactly how to attack us with which temptations, and when. Other than temptation, we also have times when we struggle with our Faith, doubt, and thoughts of despair and hopelessness. It’s very easy to start backsliding. Backsliding is turning off the narrow path, turning away from Christ, and returning to our old ways of selfish pleasure-seeking. It’s losing the Faith. It’s turning away from the Christian walk and turning to the world and its ways.
It’s easy for this to happen to believers. So when we preach warnings, we also need to reach out to those who are backsliding or in danger of it. We need to call out the sins of the Righteous, of Christians, when we see them. One little sin creates a domino effect that eventually collapses a person’s Christian morality. One little sin leads to many other sins. What doesn’t seem like a big deal today ends with a person losing their salvation tomorrow.
Sin is like a weed in our garden. If we don’t remove it fast, it’s going to spread and grow. Sin will get out of control before we know it. That’s why it’s so important for us to not only warn sinners when we preach warning, but Righteous Christians too. No one should have that “once Saved, always Saved” attitude. We can lose our salvation, and sin will grow out of control if we don’t stop it immediately. So we need to let each other know when we’re going astray.
Having said all that, know that we won’t be held responsible for the deaths of those who ignore the warning. We still have to warn them anyway, out of Christian love. Let’s finish up on that note.
If We Aren’t Warning, We Aren’t Loving
Nothing could be more unloving than knowing someone is in mortal danger, and not even bothering to warn them.
We know that the LORD Jesus Christ is returning soon, and when He comes back everyone will be judged. We know that those who love Him will have eternal life, their true life, while those who don’t love Him will be thrown into the fire for all eternity. Loving Him means having Faith in Him and keeping His commandments. His commandments are simple, but difficult, and are found in the Gospels. One of His primary commandments is that we love each other, including our enemies, as we love ourselves.
If we don’t warn people of the coming danger, if we don’t warn people to REPENT! now because Christ is coming soon, then we’re not being loving to them. Out of love, we have a duty to warn them of the danger that’s coming this way very, very soon. Judgment Day. We need to preach this message so that everyone at least has a chance to REPENT! before that day comes. So that everyone at least hears the message, and there’s no one who wasn’t warned.
We do this because we don’t want even one person to be damned for eternity if it can be avoided. Each person is precious, and God doesn’t want even one person to perish (2 Peter 3:9). We must give everybody fair warning of the coming End.
On this note, consider these words about evangelizing from the famous entertainer Penn Jillette, an atheist. He said this in 2016:
“I’ve always said,” Jillette explained, “I don’t respect people who don’t proselytize. I don’t respect that at all. If you believe there is a heaven and hell, and people could be going to hell or not getting eternal life or whatever, and you think it’s not really worth telling them this because it would make it socially awkward.Penn Jillette, “Atheist Penn Jillette Doesn’t Respect Christians Who Don’t Evangelize,” https://www.churchpop.com/2016/01/16/atheist-penn-jillette-christians-evangelize/
“How much do you have to hate somebody to not proselytize? How much do you have to hate someone to believe everlasting life is possible and not tell them that?”
Jillette then offered this example to illustrate his point: “If I believed, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that a truck was coming at you, and you didn’t believe it, that that truck was bearing down on you, there’s a certain point that I tackle you, and this is more important than that.”
That’s a great example. Imagine there’s a person standing in the road, and there’s a truck coming, and it’s going to hit them. We can shout a warning at them to get out of the way, or we can say nothing. If we shout the warning, that’s love. We warn them because we don’t want to see them die, because that doesn’t have to happen. If we don’t shout the warning, that’s hate. We don’t care about that person enough to even bother to say anything. But in that case we would be sinning, because God loves that person too, and He doesn’t want anyone to die (Spiritually) if it can be avoided.
Think back to Ezekiel 3, which I wrote about at the beginning. If we can warn people about the truck that’s going to hit them, and we don’t warn them, and they die, then God will hold us responsible. This is in Ezekiel 3:18.
(18) If I declare that the wicked will die but you don’t warn them, if you say nothing to warn them from their wicked ways so that they might live, they will die because of their guilt, but I will hold you accountable for their deaths.Ezekiel 3:18 (CEB)
So if we know that Jesus Christ is coming back soon, and everyone will be judged, and we don’t warn people—including the Righteous—that they need to REPENT! and turn away from their sins, then we will be held responsible.
That being said, when we warn people about the truck that’s about to hit them, that person needs to jump out of the way. That person needs to do their part. If they choose to ignore or reject our warning, and they die, then God will not hold us responsible. That’s in Ezekiel 3:19.
(19) If you do warn the wicked and they don’t turn from their wickedness or their wicked ways, they will die because of their guilt, but you will save your life.Ezekiel 3:19 (CEB)
Many people don’t want to hear our message. A life of sin is fun in the short-term, and people want that short-term fun. They want the short-lived, pleasurable distractions. They don’t want to do the long-term work of Spiritual growth in Christ because it’s not fun and they don’t see the benefits to them in the short-term. They want to continue living a life of chasing after pleasure, whatever they desire at the moment.
Well, God gave everyone free will. The choice to love God would be meaningless if it wasn’t possible to choose any other options (that’s a topic for another post). So we have a God who gave us free will, including the free will to go astray. People can live how they like. They can follow the ways of this fallen world, being driven and controlled by their own desires and stuck in a never-ending pursuit of short-lived pleasure. They can choose to live in sin.
They can choose not to REPENT!, turn to Jesus, and live a Spiritual life. They can choose to ignore the warnings that Jesus is returning soon. If we warn the person standing in the road that a truck is going to hit them, and they choose to ignore us, it’s not our fault when they get hit by the truck.
It’s our duty to warn the people, out of love. But how they respond to our message is not within our control. That’s why the consequences of their choice are not our responsibility. Everyone must be free to react to the message how they see fit, God wouldn’t have it any other way. As long as we warn them, God won’t blame us if they choose a path of death.
Now of course, God doesn’t want anyone to perish if it’s avoidable, so we must try to be the best, most effective evangelists we can. We must pray to the Holy Spirit for Wisdom on how to reach our audience, and what to say. We want to speak the words of the Holy Spirit, not our words. We must use every tool available to us (such as YouTube, social media, etc.) to reach the biggest audience we have. We must be smart about how to evangelize, to be as effective as we can. All modern technologies are tools we can use for this purpose. But this is a topic for another post.
I’ve said enough, for today. In closing I’d like to remind everyone reading this of The Great Commission, and our duty as Christians to evangelize. This is something we need to take very seriously out of love for all God’s beloved children. Believer and nonbeliever alike.
And remember Ezekiel 3:9. Don’t be afraid of the people we preach to, or shrink away from them! We must warn them!
We have a duty to warn people of the truck that’s about to hit them. They may not appreciate the message, but we say it out of love. We don’t want to see them get hit by the truck.
But once they hear the message, they have their part to play. If they don’t get out of the way of the truck after they’ve been warned, the consequences of their choice are not our responsibility.
It’s sad when we see this happen, or can see that it will happen. God is sad about it too. But we have to keep preaching, keep warning them anyway. Nothing is more unloving than keeping quiet when we know The End is here.
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Until next time, be strong and do good!
Your new best friend in Christ,
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3 comments on “Do Not Fear the End Times Part 52: If We Aren’t Warning, We Aren’t Loving”